Shigeru Kojima

Shigeru Kojima was born and raised in Sanjo City, Niigata. He graduated from the Sophia University and received a Master’s degree in history from the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil. After teaching at places such as the Tokyo Gakugei University, he took part in the establishment of the JICA Yokohama Japanese Overseas Migration Museum. He is a researcher (on call) at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Culture Studies at the Waseda University. He studies the immigration history and immigrants. His publications include “Nikkei community no shorai to matsuri (The Future of Nikkei Community and Matsuri)” in The Nanboku America no Nikkei bunka (Nikkei Culture in North and South America) published by Jimbun Shoin in 2007, edited by Iwao Yamamoto and others); “Nihonjin imin no rekishi kara zainichi nikkeijin wo kangaeru - Brazil ijyu 100 shunen to nikkei no shosou (Thinking about the Nikkei in Japan from the History of Japanese Immigrants – the 100th Anniversary of Immigration to Brazil and the Nikkei Lives)” in Asia Yugaku 117, published by Bensei in 2008; and “Kaigai ijyu to imin, hojin, nikkeijin (Overseas Migration and Immigrants, the Japanese, and the Nikkei)” in Higashi Asia no Diaspora (Diaspora in East Asia) published by Akashi Shoten in 2011, supervised by Hiroshi Komai.

Updated June 2016

identity en ja es

Who are Nikkeijin?

Who does “Nikkeijin” refer to? Answering this question is not easy. Today they are defined as “Japanese immigrants who have moved overseas with the intention to live there permanently as well as their descendants.” However, this definition has changed greatly over time. And the intended meaning differs from one person to another. Those who use this term sometimes imply meanings that are different from the set definition. In such cases, the conversation gets difficult. Many Issei—or first generation immigrants—often consider themselves Japanese and think that those who were born as second-generation and beyond are Nikkeijin. In other words ...

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identity en ja

The Transmission of Traditional Culture as seen in Paraná Folklore and Ethnic Festival, Brazil: Matsuri and the future of Nikkei communities with emphasis on Nikkei identity - Part 2 of 2

>> Part 1

V. “Granny’s Dance” and Folk Dance: A Japanese European Comparison

Having first observed the Paraná Folklore and Ethnic Festival in the early 1980s, I was shocked by something in particular. I believe that everyone who was there felt the same way I did. I saw that the European groups had many child participants and that the young men and women wore traditional costumes. They performed their folk dances very beautifully and at times even acrobatically. In comparison, with the Nikkei group, middle-aged and elderly Japanese women performed Japanese traditional dance and music. And although they performed gracefully ...

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community en ja

The Transmission of Traditional Culture as seen in Paraná Folklore and Ethnic Festival, Brazil: Matsuri and the future of Nikkei communities with emphasis on Nikkei identity - Part 1

I. Matsuri in Overseas Nikkei Communities

Today, overseas Nikkei communities celebrate traditional matsuri (Japanese festivals) under two types. The public space type is held outdoors in a public space or in the streets. The theatrical type is performed on a stage in a theater or hall.

Public space type festivals are usually held in areas where Japantowns once thrived. These events often feature outdoor taiko performances and street dancing called ondo. But, there might also be flower arranging or calligraphy exhibitions held indoors, as well as dance or theater performances on a stage.

Matsuri first started for many reasons, but ...

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identity en ja

Shedding "Nikkeijin": Nikkei as a New Identity - Part 2

>> Part 1

3. Changes within the Nikkei Community

If we trace the historical transformation of the Nikkei community in Brazil, it is possible to mark several distinct periods: pre-war, immediate post-war, and post-1980s. This can be observed in how the Nikkei community has been described, as well as common perceptions of the community. In other words, it is possible to make distinctions between the pre-war Japanese Brazilian Compatriot Society, the post-war Colônia Japonesa (Nikkei colony), and the post-1980s Nikkei community.

Resident Japanese Compatriot Society, Colônia Japonesa, Nikkei Community

The majority of Japanese immigrants before World War II primarily ...

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identity en ja

Shedding "Nikkeijin": Nikkei as a New Identity - Part 1

1.The Image of Nikkei in Brazil

In 1997, for the first time in Brazil, a Japanese Brazilian, Cássio Taniguchi, was elected as the mayor of a state capital, in Curitiba, the state capital of Paraná. Taniguchi received the additional honor of being elected to a second term, becoming the first mayor to do so in the city’s history. Ironically, when running for office, Taniguchi was not only virtually unknown to the city’s Nikkei community, but also had no contact with the community’s leaders. During his campaign, however, Taniguchi’s Nikkei heritage was deliberately used as ...

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